Initiatives

Positively Portage

“Pride in Portage, Pride in our People”
The Portage & District Chamber of Commerce shared the exciting details of a major community initiative – “Positively Portage – Pride in Portage, Pride in our People” at a public meeting at the William Glesby Centre, Monday September 27th, 2010.
This Chamber initiative was launched in partnership with the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) and has a number of broad components that span our community.  It includes a very important community engagement component that compliments and augments the work of PCRC.
At this point over 20 very community minded, passionate individuals have stepped forward to participate on one of the 5 working sub-committees.   It is expected the number of people actively involved with Positively Portage will increase significantly as the initiative progresses.

Mandate:
  To be the champion in the coordinating and facilitating of projects and activities based on recommendations in the FICE report that will result in an improved perception of Portage being a community where citizens, businesses, and local governments work together to create alliances and share ideas to make our community a better place in which to live, work and shop.

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Hometown Manitoba Program 

The Portage & District Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the City of Portage la Prairie has established a meaningful partnership with respect to the business enhancements.  Hometown Manitoba is a Provincial program under the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) and is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.  The Hometown Main Streets Enhancements program provides financial support for rural community projects initiated by local communities, organizations, cooperatives and businesses that enhance “main street” public places and building exteriors.  The program also aims to promote unique identities and themes that define a community.

Hometown Manitoba provides matching funds up to 50% of total eligible projects to a maximum of $1,000.  2016 is the 10th consecutive year the City has participated in this program with additional matching funds available from a total fund of $10,000.  This support clearly demonstrates the City’s commitment to assisting businesses in their efforts to improve the look of their business exteriors.

If your business or organization is located:

•          on Saskatchewan Avenue and 2 blocks North and South of Saskatchewan Avenue, or

•          on Provincial Hwy 240 within City limits

you may be eligible to access matching funds under the Hometown Manitoba Program as well as from the City of Portage for exterior building improvements and/or landscaping projects.  Since 2007, approximately 80 businesses have shared in grants to assist the completion of $550,000 in projects designed to enhance the exterior appeal of their businesses.  $67,000 was approved under the Hometown Manitoba Main Streets Enhancement program and another $60,000 through funds made available by the City of Portage la Prairie. 

Deadline for local application submission is Wednesday, December 9, 2015 in order that all applications can be forwarded to the Province prior to the final December 15, 2015 deadline.  Work cannot begin until approval is confirmed, usually by the end of March. 

2016 Hometown Manitoba Package

 

Promote business cleanup regularly

Through ongoing communication to the Business Community, the Chamber encourages local businesses to do their part in helping to keep our business community clean.  Requests have been made to the City when additional refuse containers are necessary.

In 2012, a number of businesses directly participated with PCRC by sending employees out to help pick up litter throughout the downtown business area.


Consultation with City on Heritage Square East and West upgrades
The Chamber has consulted with the City over the last few years regarding Heritage Square upgrades; which has resulted in the City completing very nice enhancements to both Heritage Square East and West.

 

Beautification Initiative
Portage la Prairie & Area Beautification Committee Inc. (PABI)
 In 2002, the Portage la Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce was approached by a general member to support an initiative to beautify the City and its entrances. This resulted in creation of the Portage & Area Beautification Initiative , which is made up of a board of 10 members, three appointed by the RM of Portage la Prairie, three appointed by the City of Portage la Prairie and four appointed by the Chamber. These three entities banded together to provide a vision for the upgrading of various locations within the City and RM of Portage la Prairie.
From the August 2002 strategic plan prepared by PABI members:
 The Portage & Area Beautification Committee was developed as a result of the City of Portage la Prairie, the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie, and the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce’s belief that we need to commence the process of making our community more aesthetically attractive to ourselves and others since this can play a significant role in increasing community pride and acting as a stimulus for increased economic and tourism development opportunities.
PABI’s initial focus was the entrances to our City and the committee accomplished exactly what they set out to do – they beautified the City and area. The entrances to Portage la Prairie have been cleaned up, flowers were planted in the downtown area, many trees now line our entrances and the parks look fresh and clean. The beautiful new signage at the east and west sides of Portage along the TransCanada are also results of this committee’s work.
The Chamber is pleased to continue this good work through the administration of sponsorship of the Mile of Flowers located on Saskatchewan Avenue and throughout the downtown area.
We are pleased to support this initiative and applaud PABI’s achievements to date.
Mile of Flowers 
In 2005 the Portage and Area Beautification Committee announced an initiative to enhance the appearance of Portage la Prairie’s downtown with the “Mile of Flowers”, radiating from City Hall westward to 8th St. W, and eastward to 10th St. E.
This joint project will include the participation of the City of Portage la Prairie, the Beautification Committee, and the local businesses along the impressive and welcoming “Mile of Flowers”. The Beautification Committee has paid for the initial capital cost of the meridian planters, and hanging baskets, the City will continue to plant and maintain the flower baskets, and the downtown businesses along with the Portage la Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce would participate in the cost of the flowers. This initiative promises to unify all groups and show our community is working together to make Portage la Prairie a more beautiful and pride-filled community. The Portage Chamber of Commerce is a proud supporter of this initiative.
Manitoba Chambers Resolutions
Like many other Chambers of Commerce, the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce has many goals and initiatives throughout the year. The Chamber is the voice of the business community in Portage la Prairie. One of the Chamber’s most important roles is advocating for our members, and looking out for their interests.
The Chamber not only addresses the local issues that our members are faced with but also addresses issues at the provincial and federal levels.

2016 AGM Accepted Resolutions:
PST Rebate for Municipalities
Issue:
One order of government should not tax another. The need for municipal dollars to be returned to the hands of municipalities is a resonating theme throughout rural municipalities (RM) across Manitoba. As it stands today, Municipalities pay over $25 million each year in PST. The call grows stronger to have that money rebated back to municipalities, just like the federal government does with the GST. This money could go directly to municipal infrastructure where it is needed the most. Municipalities pay PST on many things like insurance, tools, water meters, electricity, phone, and the internet. If municipalities were not required to pay PST, the money could be reinvested into projects to address some of the aging infrastructures. This is money that could go a long way towards road and sidewalk repairs and other infrastructure priorities for rural residents. The point has been made that it’s a common practice that one level of government does not tax another, and it would make sense that municipalities be rebated back their PST just as they currently are for GST. Resolution: That the provincial government:

Resolution:  Rebate the more than $25 million in PST paid on an annual basis by municipalities.
Submitted by Portage la Prairie Chamber of Commerce


Modernize Education Funding
Issue:
Even as the Province of Manitoba faces financial pressure to balance the budget, municipalities also continue to struggle to provide the wide range of services Manitobans expect. Since municipalities have limited tools and resources at their disposal, they must rely heavily on property taxes to generate revenue at the local level. However, municipalities do not have full control over this mechanism due to the ongoing reliance on property taxes to fund education. If school taxes on the property are raised, municipalities are often criticized, even though they do not have access to this portion of revenue. Since all of society benefits from public education, including citizens without children currently attending school, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) strongly believes education should be funded through provincial revenues. Farmland values have increased dramatically over the last five years, and farmers are starting to see land reassessments come in with no corresponding adjustment to mill rates from school divisions. Unfortunately, this goes hand in hand with a decline in commodity prices generally and farms incomes. In short, farmers are making a lot less money and paying a lot more school tax today than five years ago. However, some communities are again asking farmland owners to pay the freight once new property assessments are complete. Some farmland owners are paying net school taxes of over $14,000 a year on 1,800 acres. Added to the tax pressure is owning a home in a town where school taxes could run as high as $1,161 in school taxes per year. The government will find the support of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce regarding the commitment to eliminate school taxes for seniors and farmers to make their taxes more affordable. We also support the process of funding education through property taxes should be reviewed and modernized. Gaining the input of those impacted is something the province needs to consider. Without municipal input, the development of guidelines continues for sections of The Planning and Land Dedication for School Sites Act will not have the same impact without consultation. Flexibility is needed as a one-sizefits-all approach will not accomplish the stated goals of the legislation, and may negatively affect development and growth. It is important that school boards be required to take the initiative by actively participating in the development plan review in order to ensure future needs of the community will be met, particularly since new schools often require additional space for daycare centres and outdoor facilities.

Resolution: That the provincial government:  Provide new, sustainable long-term funding to reduce school division reliance on property taxes;  A full examination of existing policy to determine if some areas, like gambling revenue, could be put towards increased education funding.  Eliminate school taxes on farmland; and  Rescind the $5,000 cap on the Farmland School Tax Rebate until such a time that the school tax is eliminated.

Submitted by Portage la Prairie Chamber of Commerce

 

 

For more information on The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Resolutions, please go to the links section of our website to visit: http://www.mbchamber.mb.ca/

 

 

Women In Business – see Women In Business page